Superintendent David Moore said the bomb was “significant and absolutely created to kill”.
He said it would probably have been “much larger” than a pipe bomb and was “obviously created to take out officers on foot”.
Police in Northern Ireland have come under attack while clearing an area following a bomb alert, during which a separate device exploded.
Cops have said a failed bomb attack on officers was an attempt to kill. He said that the attack bears the hallmark of the work of “violent dissident republican terrorists”.
The security alert in Lurgan is now over following what was described as “a clear and unequivocal murder attempt on the policemen and women who serve the community”.
“It’s more than likely at this stage that this was an anti-personnel device”, Supt Moore said.
PSNI Detectives believe they were lured to Victoria Street by a call about a hoax device, before a real bomb went off at the scene.
Homes were evacuated in Lurgan yesterday morning after police responded to a call reporting an unexploded device around 8am.
Rail services between Belfast and Dublin were disrupted for a time because of the closure of the line between Lisburn and Portadown.
Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd, from Sinn Féin, also condemned those responsible, saying they had “brought nothing but disruption to the local community”.
The police chief said the attacks were not representative of the “developing and hugely constructive relationship with the vast majority of that community”.
He said the area where the device exploded is “frequented by both younger children at play and older children sometimes guilty of creating something of a nuisance”.
SDLP Upper Bann assembly member Dolores Kelly said those behind the attack had “a total disregard… for the people of Lurgan”.
“There is no place for militarist factions who merely serve to drag our society backwards”, he said.
Anyone with any information is asked to get in touch on 101 or through the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
Ulster Unionist ex-mayor of Craigavon Colin McCusker said he felt nothing but despair.
Policing Board chairwoman Anne Connolly added: “Those who planted the device in Lurgan have clearly no regard for the lives of those who live in the area or police officers doing their jobs to keep people safe”.